Momentum is on Syracuse's side as the top-ranked Orange are off to a 3-0 start after a confidence-inspiring win against No. 2 Virginia on March 4. The same can't be said for No. 15 Georgetown, which has defeated Jacksonville and St. John's but lost to No. 12 Maryland by 12 goals and dropped a one-goal decision to Harvard on Tuesday. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome in the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
1) Disrupting Syracuse's transition. With speedsters like seniors Jovan Miller, Josh Amidon and Jeremy Thompson on the field, the Orange love to fly from defense to offense and create scoring opportunities before opponents can get settled on defense. The Hoyas must force Syracuse into slowing the tempo and sticking to their 6-on-6 schemes. "We've obviously got to try to control the pace of the game as best we can," Georgetown coach Dave Urick said. "They're very capable of turning up the pace and scoring in bunches."
2) Keeping the Hoyas' scorers in check. The Orange is averaging 12 goals per game thus far, but the Hoyas are averaging 12.8 goals thus far. Georgetown scored 12 times in a three-goal loss to Syracuse last season, and that was the most surrendered by the Orange all year. So Syracuse coach John Desko is well aware of the Hoyas' firepower. "I think the score was 15-12 last year where they scored as many goals as just about anybody did against us," Desko recalled. "So we know they have good ability, we know they're athletic, and we know they won't back down to Syracuse. They're going to come out and play hard, and it's an opportunity for them to get one back from the Maryland game."
3) Watching faceoffs. The Orange can usually count on at least one or three goals courtesy of faceoff wins from Thompson, who has won 20-of-30 draws (66.7 percent) this season. It will be up to senior Brian Tabb (43-of-76, 56.6 percent) to battle Thompson and try to bring down his average. "You have to win your share of faceoffs," Urick said. "That's going to be awfully important. … And whatever they get, you have to make sure that they don't get it in transition."